Irish Red Ale

BJCP 15a

Overall Impression
An easy-drinking pint, often with subtle flavors. Slightly malty in the balance sometimes with an initial soft toffee/caramel sweetness, a slightly grainy-biscuity palate, and a touch of roasted dryness in the finish. Some versions can emphasize the caramel and sweetness more, while others will favor the grainy palate and roasted dryness.
Comments

Several variations exist within the style, which causes the guidelines to be somewhat broad to accommodate them. Traditional Irish examples are relatively low in hops, are grainy with a slight roast dryness in the finish, fairly neutral in general. Modern export Irish examples are more caramelly and sweet, and might have more esters. American craft versions are often more alcoholic versions of the Irish export examples. An emerging Irish craft beer scene is exploring more bitter versions of traditional examples.

History
While Ireland has a long ale brewing heritage, the modern Irish Red Ale style is essentially an adaptation or interpretation of the popular English Bitter style with less hopping and a bit of roast to add color and dryness. Rediscovered as a craft beer style in Ireland, today it is an essential part of most brewery lineups, along with a pale ale and a stout.
Ingredients
Generally has a bit of roasted barley or black malt to provide reddish color and dry roasted finish. Pale base malt. Caramel malts were historically imported and more expensive, so not all brewers would use them.
Commercial Examples
Caffrey’s Irish Ale, Franciscan Well Rebel Red, Kilkenny Irish Beer, O’Hara’s Irish Red Ale, Porterhouse Red Ale, Samuel Adams Irish Red, Smithwick’s Irish Ale